Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Four days late, into the new year, and we've already had our first furry visitor, and a new one at that! 

This is Snowy, whose breed and age we have no clue about. The original plan was to feed & care for her at their house, as
I'd just arrived home from a trip, two days ago, and wanted to give Bubbles and Tex a chance to settle back in at home. (They stayed with a friend's house while I was gone.) 

I was feeling confident in my decision to let her hang out on her own turf, after it took me thirty minutes to convince her, I wasn't a dog-eating-human. However the weather had other plans. During the night, it snowed, maybe a half an inch, no big deal right? 


While the road's by my house were clear, the roads leading to Snowy's abode, where coated with snow, and ice. Now you have to understand, in order to get to the N********'s Family Home, you must drive up and over two hills, across a bridge, and around a steep turn, that has a huuuuge drop off, and once you make it past that, you must drive down another hill, filled with curves, drop off's and what not. By the time I made it around the first steep turn (with the drop off) I knew I wasn't about to attempt, going downhill in my little car. So I turned around and CREPT back to "safety" only to find, I was in between two hills. Two hills that did not want my car to climb it. 

After several attempts I pulled into a subdivision, parked my car, and did what any child would do. Called my dad. 

However as we were talking, I watched car after car attempt the hills. Some made it on the first try, while others had to back up, gather their courage and gun it again. After about twenty minutes, with no check in's from my father, I decided to try it again. The fifth time is the charm apparently, though my wills spun, I kept my foot steady on the accelerator and we made it over the hill. Never have I been so happy to get out of a place. 

So I went home, took a nap, and then with the sun shining I went back, and decided that Snowy was going to come home with me. Now for the fun part. Introducing the dogs. 

There are a lot of awesome tips when it comes to introducing strange dogs into your home, some include: "Make sure both dogs are on a leash" or " Take the dogs on a walk “together” – single file" - great suggestion if you have another person readily available. 

I don't. 

So I have to come up with alternative ways of introducing the dogs, ideally If I know there is a point in time, where I MAY watch someone else's dog, I'll ask to meet at a park or something. 

To date, this has never happened, but it's a good idea! :) 

Lately I've divided my single wide into half, double gating my dogs away from the new dog, they can see and hear each other, but the distance is too great to encourage things like fence fighting. Which SOMEONE is apt to do.
I walked Snowy in the front door of my house, hopped the gates, and let my dogs out the back door; giving her about thirty minutes to adjust to the house sans dogs. Then I brought my dogs back in, and immediately began watching for behavior out of Texas I could reward. Aka him quietly looking through the gate. 

Though he did do quite a bit of barking, I was able to reward him several times, for simply looking through the gate and looking back at me. 


After about an hour of separation, I occupied Texas in his crate with a Kong, and let Bubbles into the second gated area to meet the new dog. Bubbles is normally the best "meet & greeter" and SOMETIMES can help set the tone for Texas. I'd forgotten that Snowy's owner's have watched her in the past, so they basically could have cared-less about the other. This having gone well, I decided to release Snowy into area #2. After filling my pockets with treats, I went and released Texas into area #1, leaving the gate between him and Snowy. 

He saw Snowy.

Treats rained down from heaven.

He sniffed at Snowy.

More treats rained. 

He looked at Snowy. 

More treats. 

No growls, barks, or snarls. 

I removed the gate. 

Snowy sniffed Him.

He stood quietly.

More treats. 

After this, I put on Snowy's leash and we all walked around the cul-de-sac a bit before, returning to the house. This is only the second time, I've done this sort of thing, to introduce Texas to a new (bigger) dog, and I must say, I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before! Its obvious if I want him to change his behavior, I need to REWARD what I like. It has gone so much better than, constantly pulling him off the other dog. 

Seeing success in this area, just encourages me as we work towards our other goals with him! :) 

But back to Snowy, by that evening, Miss Snowy had settled in, and was making herself at home. There were a couple snarky moments, as Snowy has an interesting play style, that consists of smacking her paws into her playmates face. Something Texas did NOT appreciate. But over all, she's doing fine. 

I think we may see more of Snowy in the future. :) 



Cole said...

Snowy is very pretty!  I'm glad that everyone is getting along.  :-)

Jacksdad said...

I hope that your good fortune lasts during the whole visit!

Dachshund Nola said...

She's beautiful!
Dachshund Nola

Kari said...

Happy New Year!

Stop on by for a visit
Kari said...

Thanks for sharing.. Happy new years as well!

Sandra said...

congratulations on doing so wonderful texas! that is most awesome. glad to see you are making new friends. snowy is most beautiful as well.

flash, alven, dottie